If the idea behind The Open was to determine the new Champion golfer following the death of Allan Robertson, the greatest of them all, in 1859, then the 1862 Open appeared to provide a decisive verdict.
Willie Park had won the first Open and the Tom Morris the second. Now Morris won again and by a margin of 13 strokes. It remains the largest winning margin ever recorded in The Open and only Tiger Woods’s 15-stroke victory in the 2000 US Open has surpassed it in the other Majors.
Once again Morris and Park filled the top-two spots but this time it was not a contest. In fine September weather, Morris opened with a 52 on the 12-hole course with Park the best of the rest, seven strokes behind.
A 55 in the second round put Morris 11 strokes in front of Park and William Dow, who had a 58. Morris closed with a 56 to finish with a total of 163, the same as his tally from a year earlier, and Park with a 58. Charlie Hunter also had a 58 to take third place ahead of Dow, who closed with a 63.
As in 1861, the leading amateur trailed a long way behind the Champion, James Knight being 23 strokes back.
Disappointingly, there were only eight entrants, four professionals and four amateurs and The Open was proving a private duel between Prestwick’s own Morris and Park, from Musselburgh.
Park was so incensed at the margin of his defeat that later in the year he challenged Morris to an eight-round head-to-head encounter.
It proved another triumph for Morris, who won by two holes over two rounds at Musselburgh, by five at Prestwick, by four at North Berwick and by six at St Andrews for a crushing 17-hole victory overall.